Sustainable coastline management project launched

A €26m project will create a model for the sustainable management of coastlines and estuaries in a bid to adapt to climate change.

Project PACCo (Promoting Adaptation to Changing Coasts) will restore 100 hectares of coastal wetland in developed areas at two pilot sites – the Otter Estuary in Devon (UK) and Saâne Valley in Normandy (France). The restoration of this land will enable better management of flooding, absorb carbon, and provide benefits for people and wildlife.

The project will run for three years and five months and has a budget of €25.7m, of which €17.8m is funding from the European Regional Development Fund via the Interreg France (Channel) England Programme.

At the UK site, the works will include creating mudflats and saltmarsh, moving a road to protect a disused landfill site from erosion, and relocating a cricket club. Works at the French site include increasing connectivity between the river and its floodplain, moving a campsite and building a new water treatment plant to prevent contamination and improve the water quality at two beaches.

Inappropriate use of estuarine and coastal areas over the last 300 years has been significant, including reclamation for agriculture or recreational activities. Developed as part of the project, the PACCo model, which features new solutions for more natural and effective management of heavily modified estuaries, could be replicated at 70 other sites in the France (Channel) England (FCE) area.

The project is led by the Environment Agency and has three partners in northern France and three in the southern England. It is expected to influence and inspire more adaptation projects across the programme area and elsewhere.

Mike Williams, from the Environment Agency, said: “PACCo is an extremely exciting project, which will not only deliver real benefits for people and wildlife on the ground, but also help others to build on our success elsewhere. We must find ways of adapting to climate change if we are to manage our estuaries and coasts successfully in the future.”

The FCE Strategic Environmental Assessment identified climate change as a significant threat to the FCE area, which is expected to be affected by a significant sea level rise in 2100, compared to 2000. There is increasing recognition that it is not always going to be possible to continue existing uses in the face of these changes. PACCo will help to demonstrate how adaptation can be a better solution.

The re-creation of 100 hectares of saltmarsh will remove the equivalent of 170 Olympic swimming pools full of CO2, valued at €2.9m, each year. PACCo will also increase green tourism to the two valleys, with an estimated value of €40m for the Saâne Valley by the end of the project, and €12m for the Otter Valley. Significant public health benefits are also expected due to the increased access to the natural environment that the project will provide.

Carolyn Reid, manager of the Interreg France (Channel) England Programme, said: “PACCo is an impressive, bold project which addresses one of the most pressing issues of the moment – how to adapt successfully to climate change in a way that benefits the environment and people. With time, we expect this type of sustainable management will also be adopted elsewhere.”

Interreg France (Channel) England Programme still has €39m of ERDF to commit to projects. If you have a project idea and are looking for funding, don’t hesitate to contact one of our team or visit


To find out more about the project see here. The full list of partners:


  • LEAD PARTNER: Environment Agency LP
  • East Devon Pebblebed Heaths Conservation Trust PP
  • Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs PP


  • Communauté de Communes Terroir de Caux PP
  • Commune de Quiberville PP
  • Syndicat mixte littoral normand (Conservatoire du littoral)

For enquiries about the project please contact: For enquiries about the France (Channel) England Programme please contact or visit